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Heritage support for precious cottage

4 June 2008

The Christchurch City Council demonstrated today its commitment to the retention and preservation of the heritage of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

Lyttelton’s Grubb  Cottage, at 62 London Street, was bought by the Council in 2006 to ensure its protection. Initially, the Council intended to on-sell the cottage to a trust but at today’s meeting it decided it would retain ownership and commit $250,000 over the next two years to fund the necessary conservation and stabilisation work.

Since purchasing the Cottage in 2006 the Council has funded condition and structural reports, and a conservation plan which included a full assessment of the heritage values of the Cottage and its outbuildings.

The findings of the conservation plan indicated that Grubb Cottage was in fact the most significant colonial domestic dwelling in Lyttelton.

“We realised the property was far more important that we had first thought.  In fact, it was so precious that it needed preservation not rebuilding, ”  Mayor Bob Parker said.

At today’s Council meeting it was decided that Grubb Cottage would remain in Council ownership and receive a major injection of Council funds for its conservation and preservation.

Grubb Cottage is listed as a protected building under the Banks Peninsula District Plan and registered as a Category II Historic Place under the Historic Places Act. Category II buildings are considered to be places of historical or cultural heritage significance or value.

Particular heritage significance is attached to the Cottage as the original construction on the first piece of land to be sold in New Zealand by the Canterbury Association which had not been pre-purchased in England.

The Cottage also has heritage significance to the community of Lyttelton because of its association with the early settlement of the town. The Grubbs were a key family in the development of Lyttelton and its port, and in turn associated with the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury region.

The Cottage remains in very original condition, including its original outbuildings. There are few examples of 1840s, 1850s and 1860s built dwellings still existing in Christchurch and Lyttelton, and no others are in such an original condition as the front section of Grubb Cottage.

The Cottage presents a record of built archaeology which is unique in Canterbury, and provides substantial evidence of the way of life of the early settlers during the first two decades of organised European settlement.


Mr Parker said that with  the Cottage in such original condition,  options for future uses were extremely limited making it difficult for the community to raise funds for it, or gain an income from it.

“The Council recognised this and stepped in to fund a sensitive and appropriate programme for protection and preservation.   The cottage is significant . . . it is directly connected to the remarkable heritage of our founding families.”

The Council’s Principal Advisor for Heritage, Neil Carrie, said today’s decision showed the Council’s genuine commitment to protecting the greater city’s valuable heritage.

Zoë Roland, Area Coordinator Canterbury / West Coast for New Zealand Historic Places Trust said the Trust was delighted with the outcome of today’s meeting

“The commitment shown by the Christchurch City Council will strongly assist with protecting this important piece of our local heritage.  The Cottage represents one of the remaining physical links to the founding of the original Canterbury settlement, the First Four Ships, and Lyttelton as the cradle of Canterbury,” she said.


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